Indonesian police arrest punks

Authorities detain and shave the heads of punk fans.


Words by: Charlie Jones

After months of alleged harassment from authorities, tension has come to a head this Wednesday in the semi-autonomous Indonesian province of Aceh, where conservative politics and Sharia law saw to it that a local punk show be broken up and its attendees duly ‘reformed’. According to The Guardian, those apprehended of the approximately 100-strong crowd had their piercings removed, heads shaved and “disgusting” clothes replaced before being handed a toothbrush and ordered to “use it”. The punk fans will be detained for 10 days, during which time they will undergo military training and Qu’ranic teaching.

As the latest in a spate of recent government crackdowns promoting Islamic values in the area, some music lovers were shipped off to a local detention centre where they will be ‘rehabilitated’ with military discipline and religious classes before being returned to their parents.

Nur Kholis, national human rights commissioner demanded police show evidence of criminal activity, otherwise “[T]hey violated people’s right of gathering and expression,” Kholis said to The Guardian, and promised to investigate. A young detainee was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “Why? Why my hair? We didn’t hurt anyone. This is how we’ve chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?”

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